Welsh junior doctors begin fresh strike action over pay

Junior doctors from across Wales have begun a three-day strike over pay.

The walkout, which began at 7am on Wednesday, will last until 7am on Saturday, and is expected to see more than 3,000 doctors taking part in the industrial action.

The move will see appointments at hospitals and GP practices across the country postponed.

This is the second round of strike action by the British Medical Association (BMA) in Wales since January, who argue they have lost a third of their pay in the last 15 years.

Members of the BMA have warned that future strikes are likely if their demands are not met.

But the Welsh government insists that the 5% increase it has offered is all it can afford.

Industrial strike
Dr Oba Babs-Osibodu, the co-chairman of BMA Cymru’s junior doctors committee joins Welsh junior doctors on the picket line outside the University Hospital Wales in Cardiff as they begin another round of strike action in their long running dispute over pay (George Thompson/PA)

He said: “We’re here today because we’ve lost 29.6% of our pay over the last 15 years.

“We’ve lost almost a third of our pay and our work hasn’t become a third easier, if anything it’s getting harder.

“With this deliberate pay erosion from the Welsh Government, we’re now in a situation where new doctors here in Wales are earning just £13.65 per hour.”

He said the union had made its feelings known to the Welsh Government, calling the present situation “untenable”.

He added: “We’re always talking to the Welsh Government and we’ve been talking to them for a long, long time.

“Unfortunately, all we’re getting is excuses and empty promises.”

Industrial strike
Welsh junior doctors on the picket line outside the University Hospital Wales in Cardiff (George Thompson/PA)

Dr Fahey added that the last set of strikes in January shows that patient safety can be maintained.

He said that anyone needing urgent care would be looked after by consultants and other senior colleagues.

The BMA representatives said strikes were likely to continue until the Welsh government’s offer improved.

During the last strike, around 41% of outpatient appointments and 61% of operations were postponed across Wales.

Welsh government health minister Eluned Morgan said: “We are disappointed that junior doctors have decided to take further industrial action in Wales, but we understand their strength of feeling about our 5% pay offer,” she said.

“Our offer is at the limits of the finances available to us and reflects the position reached with the other health unions.

“But we will continue to press the UK Government to pass on the funding necessary for full and fair pay rises for public sector workers.”

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